Continuing the tradition of parade of geek flicks this season, United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corporation is screening "Paul", a sci-fi comedy movie about alien encounters, both by the government and the (cool) ordinary citizens. (Yup, think of ET and X-Files in a comic way!)
The alien is named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who has been put in captivity at a top-secret military base. Paul met Earthlings Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) during his escape from the military facility. Chased by government officials and some odd characters that spice up the plot, Graeme and Clive became instant good samaritans in helping Paul escape and find his rescue ship. And as the geeks do their best to save Paul, it may end up the other way around as the alien life form transform his fellow outcasts to intergalactic heroes.
In an interview by United International Pictures, Nick Frost shares, “They (Graeme and Clive) were a lot geekier to begin with. But we knocked them back to what you see.” “They’re a strange amalgam,” concurs Simon Peggl. “They’re our geekiest selves, I guess. If we put anything of ourselves into them, it’s a projection of our most avid fanboy sides. And we put another side of ourselves in there, too, an interest in paranormal activity.” Frost nods. “We imagined that it was just literally the two of them all the time. There’s only one other guy they know. And when you see them dancing round the campfire, the stage direction says, ‘it is the first time that Graeme and Clive have ever danced.’ I was watching it last night, thinking, ‘that’s right!’
The Pegg-Frost friendship resonates in the relationship between Graeme and Clive (“There’s a great love between them,” says Pegg. “We channelled a bit of our romance into it, didn’t we?”). But the film itself also took their friendship to new areas, as the two wrote together for the first time. Not that those areas were always welcome. “There were big arguments,” admits Frost. “I think that’s how it’s meant to be, right? It would be weird if there wasn’t a big disagreement.” “The thing I remember is having this big argument over the Vasquez Rocks thing,” recalls Pegg, referring to a scene that takes place early in the film. “It was a silly thing. That was a real big blow-up which lasted an hour or two. Then you have that cool-down period where you don’t want to talk to each other but you don’t want to fight, but then you have a cup of tea and it’s all fine.” Frost smiles, “One of us would say something really funny and then it’s forgotten.” “Yeah,” agrees Pegg. “It was mainly just pissing ourselves laughing.”
The film, though, isn’t called Graeme & Clive, it’s called Paul. And, from the off, Pegg and Frost were focusing on their title character. An entirely CG creation, to be voiced by Seth Rogen, Paul went through a number of iterations before they settled upon turning him into a laidback slacker with an impressive array of swearwords at his disposal. “We had a few different ideas from the time we started writing,” concedes Frost. “He was a lot older, a lot meaner and he was a bit violent. But the longer the writing process went on, instead of him being this horrible character who upsets and shocks Graeme and Clive constantly, why don’t we make him more likeable? He’s cool, he’s been around a lot, he’s the most human character in the film.”
Pegg nods, in agreement. “Before Seth came on board, we were thinking of someone like Rip Torn. He was this old Jewish guy with tanned leathery skin, but now he’s just a cool dude, in the vein of Mork and ALF and those classic smart-mouthed aliens. But more real.”
Released by United International Pictures and distributed through Solar Entertainment Corporation, "Paul" opens in Philippines theaters on June 01.